Aug 25, 2017

Happy Friday

Each day is not an occurrence, it is an opportunity.

Take advantage of the opportunity to celebrate a Happy Friday! 

Just Because Day

We celebrate the unofficial holiday each year on August 27. You can celebrate this day any way you choose, just because. It started during the 1950s and has been growing in celebrations since then.

Every day we all do things that are expected or required of us. On National Just Because Day, that does not apply. The day is a chance to do something without reason. How about that person you have secretly been wanting to kiss; do it, just because.

Possibly you want to sing really loud while in your car by yourself with your windows rolled down; do it, just because. I may walk around the block backward, just because.

Incidentally, August 27 is also National Burger Day in the UK. They probably chose that day, just because.

OTA vs. Cable

Satellite and cable TV companies have massive networks, carrying 100s of channels to millions of customers. To effectively service these customers, they use digital compression technologies to shrink the size of the signal, allowing more channels to fit on the cable. When compressing the signal, some of the original data is lost. The result is the picture on your TV loses sharpness and detail.

We have been accustomed to cable and with no comparison, the picture we see is presumed to be the best that can be put out by our TV screen. Many channels are not even delivered in 1080p as we presume. They are still delivered as 720p. The only reason pictures look better is that the new flat screen TVs are adept at up-scaling the signal to make it look better (even though it is not as good as it could be).

OTA means Over The Air. It is difficult to compare the new TV antennas with the old rabbit ears, because the rabbit ears were analog and the new antennas are digital. Using an antenna to pick up a signal over the air provides an uncompressed signal directly to your TV. The results are significantly noticeable and better than cable. A few friends and I have recently added antennas and comparing the picture is as easy as clicking on the input to go from cable to OTA. In every case on each TV the resulting picture is remarkably better with an antenna.

Incidentally, if your cable package blacks out some sports, pick up an antenna, just for game day. They are cheap and can be easily hung on a wall or in a window with a pin or sticky tape. Also great if you want to watch TV out by the patio or pool, no extra wiring, just drag out your TV and attach an antenna.

Alphabet Facts

The word alphabet is derived from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. We owe our own alphabet to the Phoenicians. Their 22 letter alphabet had no vowels, but it was used as the basis of the ancient Greek alphabet, which in turn was adapted by the Romans, and is essentially the same as the one we use today.

A sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet is called a pangram.

Ernest Vincent Wright's novel Gadsby: Champion of Youth (1939) - a story of more than 50,000 words in which the letter ‘e’ never appears. George Perec’s novel La Disparition (1969) which doesn’t contain the letter ‘e’. Its English translation, A Void by Gilbert Adair, also avoids using the letter ‘e’ which is the most common letter in both languages.

Wordology, Fulsome

By far, its most common use is in the expression “fulsome praise,” which would seem like a good thing. The word sounds positive, drawing mental associations to “full” and “wholesome.” At one point, this was exactly what the word meant.

Then Samuel Johnson, considered the father of the English dictionary came along. He and Noah Webster thought that the word “fulsome,” which mostly held a positive connotation for hundreds of years (meaning “copious” or “abundant”), drew its roots from the word “foul” and “fulsome” gained its negative connotation. Many have fought and continue to fight for its original use, even as far back as 1868.

The word simultaneously retains both definitions, and even former president Barack Obama used the word in its much older, positive sense. He came under some scrutiny for that and for the fact that he misused “enormity.” It is another word that may create an entirely new definition, because people incorrectly associate it with size.

“Fulsome praise” usually means “disgustingly over-the-top and insincere praise, but some have assumed its meaning to be more positive.

Hispanic vs. Latino

Many people use the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" interchangeably, they actually have different meanings. There is significant overlap between the terms, but their differences may make only one term correct in certain circumstances.

Hispanic and Latino are often mistakenly used to refer to race or color. Instead, these terms actually describe ethnicity.

Hispanic is a term that focuses on language and describes the culture and people of areas formerly ruled by the Spanish Empire. The common thread among Hispanics is the shared common language of Spanish. This would include areas such as Mexico, Central America, and most of South America.

Latino (or Latina for females), on the other hand, focuses on geography and describes people of Latin American descent. This would include countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and North America whose people speak Romance languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Based upon those definitions, it's easy to see how much overlap there is between the terms Hispanic and Latino. To make things more confusing, the term "Hispanic" comes from the Latin word for "Spain," while Latino comes from the Spanish word for "Latin."

To see where the two terms differ, consider the people of Brazilian descent. Since the people of Brazil speak Portuguese rather than Spanish, they would be considered Latino but not Hispanic.

So, the terms have much overlap, but they are not completely interchangeable. Hispanics and Latinos generally choose not to use either term. Instead, most prefer to be referred to simply as Americans or by their family's national origin, such as Mexican-American, Cuban-American, etc.

Today, there are more than 56 million Hispanic and Latino people in the United States, over 17% of the US population.


On stage 'dead' actors involuntarily laughing is such a big problem, that in British theater it is known as 'corpsing'. This has become generalized to any situation where an actor laughs inappropriately; any time you see a reference to an actor "corpsing", it means they ruined the shot by laughing.

Wordology, Terminal Velocity

You close your eyes and jump. You feel yourself in free fall, hurtling toward Earth, open your eyes and see the ground slowly getting closer. You seem to be picking up speed as you fall and soon you hit terminal velocity. It is the velocity at which you stop accelerating. It describes a physical reality based upon Newton's First Law of Motion.

When an object falls freely through a medium, such as water or air, the force of gravity pulls it toward Earth. As the object falls, its velocity increases as it accelerates toward Earth.

Gravity is not the only force working on the object. Air molecules collide with the falling object, pushing it upward against gravity. Scientists call this force air resistance. As the velocity of the falling object increases, so does air resistance.

Eventually, air resistance will equal the weight of the object in free fall. When this occurs, the object reaches terminal velocity. This means the falling object has reached its maximum velocity. The object will continue to fall at the same speed (terminal velocity) for the remainder of its free fall, until it hits Earth or a parachute opens.

Terminal velocity can be affected by a few different factors. For example, a heavier object will generally have a higher terminal velocity and a smaller surface area will have a higher terminal velocity than a larger surface area.

Most skydivers reach a terminal velocity of about 125 miles per hour. Experienced skydivers who streamline their bodies during free fall have reached speeds of over 200 miles per hour.

During October, 2012, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium balloon in the stratosphere, twenty four miles above Earth. Because the atmosphere at that height is so thin, there is next to no air resistance at the beginning of the free fall. This allows the skydiver to reach a much higher terminal velocity before encountering Earth's normal atmosphere far below.

On Baumgartner's skydive, he reached an estimated top speed of approximately 843.6 miles per hour.

Aug 18, 2017

Happy Friday

If you worry about What Was or What Will Be, you miss What Is.

Get up and decide What Is is time to celebrate a Happy Friday!

Total Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse is happening on August 21, 2017, and for the first time in nearly a hundred years, it will be visible from much of the continental US. In the US, the eclipse will appear to move across the country from West to East, with the best view starting around 9:05 a.m. PDT in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, according to NASA, and moving southeast throughout the day to end around Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 pm EDT.

It is true that you should not look directly at it with your naked eyes, because the sun delivers more power than our eyes are designed to handle, and it will damage your retinas. Not likely to make you blind, but could cause serious ongoing problems.
In Dallas, the Partial Eclipse begins Aug 21 at 11:40 am. The moon touches the Sun's edge Maximum Eclipse at 1:09 pm. The moon is closest to the center of the Sun. The Partial Eclipse ends at 2:39 pm.
When the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and scores a bull’s eye by completely blotting out the sunlight, that is a total solar eclipse. The moon casts a shadow on our planet. The total eclipse will last up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds in places. A partial eclipse will be visible along the periphery.

Below are site links to see the eclipse online. In addition to the links below, you can check YouTube, which also promises live viewing.

National Spumoni Day

August 21 is National Spumoni Day in the United States. Go out and eat some great Spumoni ice cream while watching the eclipse. It will make you happy.

Ostrich Facts

Ostriches are the largest flightless bird living today, and also happen to lay the largest eggs of any living bird in existence today. In fact, the Guinness World Record for the largest egg laid by a bird was achieved during 2008 on a farm in Sweden – the egg weighed 5 pounds and 11.36 ounces. A typical ostrich egg is equivalent to about two dozen chicken eggs.

The shells of ostrich eggs are so thick that most people recommend getting into them by boring in with an electric drill. They usually take about two hours to cook, due to the thickness of the shell.

Ostriches sleep standing up. Ostriches are the fastest two-legged creature in the world. An ostrich when pushed or in danger can achieve speeds of up to 43 miles per hour, and can steadily keep up a pace of about 30 miles per hour for 10 miles at a time without needing to slow down or rest.

Ostriches are found naturally in Africa, but many are also found in southern Australia and some are farmed in the US.

Ostriches do not stick their head in sand when startled or threatened. They dig shallow holes in the dirt to use as nests for their eggs. Several times a day, a bird puts her head down and turns the eggs. It just looks like she is burying her head in the sand.

Glue Anything to Anything

There is an interesting web site called thisTothat LINK   It has two boxes and you choose a material to put in each, such wood, glass, leather, or whatever and it offers suggestions of the best glue for the project. Very handy.

Wordology, Peruse

Peruse has a controversial double meaning due to common misuse. Even dictionaries do not all agree on the meaning of the word.

The primary meaning for the word peruse is to read or look at carefully or thoroughly. Its original meaning is synonymous with words like examine or inspect. The new definition addressing the misuse cropped up rather recently, sometime late in the last century.

The new meaning for the word is to skim, to look through in a casual or selective manner. These definitions have one suggesting a thorough examination and the other a few simple glances.

A word with two potential, opposite meanings is called a contronym, an autoantonym, or a Janus word. Others include: “To bolt” can mean “to run away,” but it can also mean “to hold in place.” “Sanction” can mean “to approve” or “to boycott.”

Elsie the Cow

Elsie is the name of the cow used as the symbol on Elmer's products. She is the spouse of Elmer, the bull (male cow) who the company is named after.

Function Keys

Keyboard function keys really do have functions and some are quite handy. Function keys are usually on the top row and have an F followed by a number, such as F1, F2, etc.

The most universal is F1, press it and you get help for almost every program you happen to be using.

F3 is handy for doing searches. For instance, if you are in a document or on a long web page, just press F3 and a search bar appears on the bottom of your screen. (You can also open a search box by holding down the CTRL key and hitting the letter f.)

F6 is handy if you are using a browser. It jumps the cursor to the address bar so you can type a new address in it.

Obviously there are more, but some are used by specific programs, such as F7 while in Microsoft Word checks for spelling. Try them, you may be surprised at how much time you can save.

Nude cartoons

Warner Brothers’ Tweety Bird, was told to put some clothes on. In his first cartoon, Tweety was pink, but censors said he looked naked, so animator Bob Clampett said he was repainted yellow, so he appeared to have feathers.

Aug 12, 2017

Happy Friday

Life happens, whether you take advantage of it or not.

Take advantage of celebrating a Happy Friday!

Bacon and Nose Bleeds

According to a study conducted by the Detroit Medical Center, bacon can quickly and effectively treat a nosebleed by serving as a nasal tampon. For this bizarre method to work, one must plug the bleeding nostril with a piece of cured uncooked pork.
The team tested their bacon hypothesis on a girl who had Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare hereditary disease that causes prolonged bleeding. After sticking a piece of cured pork inside the girl’s bloody nose, the bleeding stopped immediately.
The results of this scientific research were published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology. The researchers acknowledged that doctors had used cured pork to treat nosebleeds in the past. However, the practice was discontinued.

The researchers speculated that the high risk of acquiring parasitic and bacterial complications from stuffing one’s nose with cured pork caused the unconventional treatment to be abandoned.

Wordology, Terrific

John Milton, author of Paradise Lost came up with many new words. One of them is the word terrific, but it had a different meaning for Milton. He used the word terrific to mean something that was terrifying, as in terrif fic.

Tree Growth

In the United States, which contains eight percent of the world's forests, there are more trees than there were a hundred years ago. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, "Forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. By 1997, forest growth exceeded harvest by 42 percent and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920."

The U.S. had 319 million people in 2014 and 228 billion trees. The greatest gains have been seen on the East Coast, with average volumes of wood per acre almost doubling since the 1950s. Over 75 percent of the productive commercial forest land in the United States is privately owned.
In a study released during 2015 in Nature, a team of 38 scientists found that the planet is home to 3.04 trillion trees, far surpassing the previously estimate of 400 billion. The researchers estimated there are 422 trees for every person on Earth.

Incidentally, the US federal government owns 28% of all US land.

Wordology, Wamblecropt

It sounds just like it means. It means overcome with indigestion. You might have observed your stomach was wambling a bit. If the wambles (indigestion) got so bad you could not move, you were wamblecropt. Sad that such a descriptive word has gone out of favor.

Riot, Rout, Unlawful Assembly

Riot, rout, and unlawful assembly are related offenses, but are separate and distinct. A rout differs from a riot in that the persons involved do not actually execute their purpose, but merely move toward it. The degree of execution that converts a rout into a riot is often difficult to determine.
A riot is a form of civil disorder commonly characterized by a group lashing out in a violent public disturbance against authority, property, or people. To be considered a riot in England and Wales it must legally involve a minimum of twelve people. Under US federal law it is only three people, in New York, US ten people, Lynchburg, VA, US, three people, and in Nevada, US only two people can constitute a riot.

An unlawful assembly transpires when persons convene for a purpose, if executed would make them rioters, but who separate without performing any act in furtherance of their purpose.

Sticky Things

When measuring ingredients for cooking, like peanut butter, honey, etc. Spray the measuring cup with cooking spray first. It will make cleanup much easier.

Claddagh Rings

The Claddagh ring (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring given which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty.

The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City. The ring, as currently known, was first produced in the 17th century, but the name Claddagh ring was not used before the 1830s. In recent years it has been embellished with interlace designs and combined with other Celtic and Irish symbols.

The ring belongs to a group of European finger rings called "fede rings". The name "fede" derives from the Italian phrase mani in fede ("hands [joined] in faith" or "hands [joined] in loyalty"). These rings date from Roman times, when the gesture of clasped hands was a symbol of pledging vows, and they were used as engagement/wedding rings in medieval and Renaissance Europe.

Incidentally, "Top of the morning to you." "And the rest of the day to yourself." Both are Hollywood inventions and never used in Ireland.

New Spam

Yesterday I received a "thank you for your purchase" email supposedly from Apple iTunes for $99. There was no credit card info and when I hovered on the link, it was for a bitly web site. Other things I hovered on were also not from Apple. Bottom line, if there is no credit card info, delete the email after you mark it spam.

Aug 4, 2017

Happy Friday

If you season your friendships with joy you will taste the sweetness of life.

I always savor the sweetness of a Happy Friday!

Fastest Computer

It was not that many years ago that we were anxiously awaiting a computer that could do a million operations per second. Now we have the Sunway computer, which has a linkpack benchmark rate (the maximum speed at which it can operate) of 93 petaflops (a thousand trillion floating point operations per second). China has been building its next-generation high performance computer which will be at least 10 times faster than Sunway when the machine is finished during 2019.

Theater 4K HDR TV

Wow, 4K HDR just grew up. The same TV technology that is in living rooms just began in theaters. A few months ago, Samsung introduced its immense 34 foot Cinema TV LED Screen, an alternative to projectors.

This cinema display TV features digital cinema 4K resolution and about 500,000 more pixels than what you will find in a normal consumer 4K TV.

Typical projectors will lose color quality as brightness is increased, but the Cinema TV Screen maintains perfect color accuracy at peak brightness levels regardless of the ambient illumination, similar to those found in the 2017 QLED 4K TVs, which also achieve strong color volume at high brightness levels. The most remarkable aspect of Samsung’s screen is its brightness that is 10 times more than that offered by standard projector technologies. Makes me want to raise the ceiling in the living room to fit a larger screen.

Wordology, Knickerbockers

Knickers is actually a standard word for underwear, mainly in Britain. “Knickers” derives from “knickerbockers,” or “loose-fitting short pants gathered at the knee.” Because the city’s early Dutch settlers wore those pants, “New Yorkers” became known as “Knickerbockers.” The Knickerbockers, now more commonly “The Knicks” is the name of New York’s NBA team. It does not have a picture of knickerbockers in its logo.

Psychopath vs. Sociopath

The terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” often get used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same. It is believed that psychopathy is the largely the result of genetics, while sociopathy is more likely the result of the environment. However, it is not completely nature or nurture, but a complex combination of genetics, neurology, and environment. They are both classified as Antisocial Personality Disorders. They both show a disregard for laws and social mores, a disregard for the rights of others, a failure to feel remorse or guilt, and a tendency to display violent behavior.

Psychopathy is related to a physiological defect that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others. Traits include a total freedom from fear, anxiety, or guilt. They can be charming, outgoing, and charismatic. They thrive on power and control and are self centered and impulsive.

Sociopathy is likely the product of childhood trauma and physical/emotional abuse. Sociopathy can also be acquired, such as by dementia or a head injury. Sociopaths have a less severe form of lack of empathy and lack of guilt. Sociopaths may be able to form some deep bonds while a psychopath cannot. A sociopath would feel no guilt about hurting a stranger, but may feel guilt and remorse over hurting someone with which they share a bond. A sociopath is less organized in demeanor and might be nervous, easily agitated, and quick to display anger. Sociopaths are often crusaders or martyrs for a perceived cause and may see their wild acts as necessary.

Psychopaths are confident, social, and dominant, but sociopaths are reserved and inhibited, sometimes loners.

Psychopaths are exempt from negative emotion, but sociopaths do experience anxiety and rejection.

Psychopaths have no morals, but sociopaths have a sense of morality and a conscience however, it is skewed.

Bottom line, all psychopaths are sociopaths, but not all sociopaths are psychopaths.

Yoda Toes

In different movies Yoda has different numbers of toes. In The Phantom Menace he has 3 toes, in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Sith he has 4.

What's in a Name, Groundhog

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The groundhog is also referred to as a chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, and red monk. The name "thickwood badger" was given in the Northwest to distinguish the animal from the prairie badger. Monax was a Native American name of the woodchuck, which meant "the digger".


Whisky is a spirit distilled from malted grain, barley or rye. The word whisky is originated from the Old English word usquebae. The word is derived from the words uisce, which means water, and bethu, which translates to life. Summing it up, the word whisky basically means 'water of life'.

Vanilla vs. French Vanilla Ice Cream

Both are made with vanilla beans for flavor. Vanilla ice cream is more white and French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring.

The name French vanilla is derived from the classic French way of making ice cream using an egg custard base. French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks, which give it a smoother consistency and its distinctive yellow hue. The taste is a bit richer and a bit more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream.